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Round 2
Round 3
Stanley Cup Final

Carcillo rewards coach's faith

Wednesday, 04.22.2009 / 12:07 AM / 2009 Playoffs Conference Quarterfinals

By John McGourty - NHL.com Staff Writer

PHILADELPHIA -- Flyers sniper Jeff Carter finished second in the NHL this season with 46 goals. Teammate Simon Gagne had 36, captain Mike Richards and forward Scott Hartnell each scored 30. Veteran Mike Knuble had 27 goals, Joffrey Lupul had 25 and Danny Briere had 11 in only 29 games.

Scoring usually isn't a problem for the Flyers, but Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury had stopped all 40 shots he'd faced midway through the third period of Game 4 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series. Surely, there was someone on the bench who could score and get us back into this game, the players had to be thinking. But who?

As it turned out, it was the least likely player on the team -- enforcer Dan Carcillo, who scored on his second shot of the shift against Fleury at 11:44 of the third period, on assists by Richards and defenseman Randy Jones.

It was his first goal since joining the Flyers in a Deadline Day deal with Phoenix.

"It's nice to get that off my back," Carcillo said after scoring the Flyers' 3-1 loss, which left then trailing 3-1 in the best-of-7 series. "It took a little longer than I expected. The first shot went off the post. The goal was just a goal and it doesn't mean squat now. It would have been nice if we could have built something off there. Hopefully, going into the next game, we'll keep playing the way we did tonight."

The Wachovia Center, famed for its raucous crowd, had gone silent in the third period before Carcillo's goal. The fans erupted and sent a charge through the team, Richards said.

"It was electric. You were out there, you heard it," Richards said. "It's something that gave us a lot of energy and we fed off of it. We played a great game. It's a hard pill to swallow when you lose like that."

Carcillo sat out Game 2 when suspended for an end-of-game incident in Game 1 in Pittsburgh. He hadn't scored for the Flyers in 20 regular-season games and almost three playoff games since being acquired on March 4 in a trade for Scottie Upshall and a draft pick.

There was irony in Carcillo scoring his first Flyers goal against the Penguins, the team that took him with the 73rd overall pick in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft. The Penguins traded Carcillo in 2007 to acquire enforcer Georges Laraque. Carcillo doesn't sound like he misses the chance to play regularly in Pittsburgh's Mellon Arena, an ancient building about to be replaced.

"Other than the toilet spraying you, I don't think so," Carcillo said. "I think we have a 100 times better rink here, with our fans."

But he's going back to Mellon Arena on Thursday, his team down 3-1 in the series, and hoping to have the time of his life.

"I think the last game in Pittsburgh could have gone either way," Carcillo said. "That's just the bounces we're getting right now and hopefully it will turn around. We had about 8 1/2 minutes left to get another goal. It gave us life and the crowd was loud and it was nice to see. We have to build off the good things we did tonight and take that into Pittsburgh."

Carcillo said he was grateful coach John Stevens put him back in the lineup after his suspension and that he wanted to play well for Stevens, in return.

"He put me back in the lineup when he could have sat me," Carcillo said. "What I did wasn't the smartest thing to do. I got caught. The suspension is in the past, he told me, and he showed faith in me."

It's hard to walk into that locker room and look those guys in the eye when they've played -- clearly, that was our best game we've played in the series -- and I thought we deserved a better fate tonight.

— Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper on his team's 3-2 loss to the Canadiens in Game 3 on Sunday